Although heralded as a retail innovator and an advocate for American manufacturing and fair wages, he also faced numerous sexual misconduct accusations.
Over the years, the chief executive -- who on Wednesday was ousted by American Apparel's board of directors because of "alleged misconduct" -- behaved oddly during many interviews with Times reporters.
During a factory tour several years ago, he refused to answer questions about the company and talked repeatedly about "Sesame Street."
In his office, Charney and his advisors showed the reporters sexually explicit emails, photos and text messages that he said were from some of the women who sued the company.
At one point, he stood up, faced his desk chair and began thrusting his pelvis into the seat, shouting, "Oh Dov, oh Dov!" as he mimicked what he said women would do to entice him.
He also maintained that he didn't see a problem with a chief executive of a company having sex with his employees. Adults, he repeated, should be able to do as they please.
A few months later, Charney suggested dinner at a downtown L.A. Korean restaurant with a Times reporter and bestselling author Robert Greene, a longtime friend of Charney's who was and still is a member of American Apparel's board of directors.
Charney referred to his close friend alternately as a genius, El Senor and Jesus. The American Apparel founder said he was hooked on "The 48 Laws" the moment he opened its burnt orange cover. The book draws on the ideas of Machiavelli, the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu and others.
The seduction book, Charney said, was fascinating to him as a study in human behavior, from the perspective of the seducer and the seduced.
"We all like to be seduced," he said. "We all want to be lied to once in a blue moon, and the seduction book documents this pattern."
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